Thursday, August 16, 2007


Today was the last day of our summer program, and the staff of Young Voices gathered at John's house for a cookout. Instead of eating pizza in our downtown Waterbury office, we decided a change of scenery would be relaxing on the last day. Over four hours the group played freeze tag, hide-and-seek, ate an amazing lunch and just enjoyed each other's company. Here are a few pictures from the day, and some of their final journal entries.

From the moment I walked into the Waterbury Observer office, I knew this experience would be worthwhile. However, I didn’t know that I was going to even stay and be there every day throughout the summer. Quajay, John and Chelsea found a way to pay three of us to work everyday. Not only did I get to be a part of the newspaper, but I was also named editor-in-chief. There were times when I felt stressed because I didn’t know how to organize all of my information in my story.

I gained a very close friend, Catherine. I also found that Chelsea and I have grown closer and she is a great friend. Quajay and John are great mentors, even though Quajay always steals my snacks (that’s okay, because I got some of his Gatorade).

I am so proud of this newspaper and I’m sad that today is our last day of work for the summer. However, I know that I will continue to write and work towards my goal. I can’t wait for the next issue.”

“My summer went a lot better than I expected. I always thought that I was a great writer because I did very well in school with English and Civics when we had to write essays. Working here I think I could have put in a lot more effort than I did when it was time to write my story for our newspaper. I was overwhelmed with responsibility to contribute to getting our voices. I wasn’t completely satisfied with my end product, but I did get positive feedback so it was reassuring for me to have some support from my peers. I didn’t think I would enjoy this job as much as I did and now it’s coming to an end. We were a good team and worked well together. It’s kind of sad to know that we’re not going to be working together anymore. To me it has been a great experience and knowing that I contributed to making our newspaper makes it a lot better! I hope I will be able to apply what I learned here in my everyday life.”

“ The End…
Today is the end of most of our summer. It’s like once you start something and it’s fun, you just don’t want to stop. That is how I feel right now. I hope this paper will go on for a very long time because this was a very eye opening experience for many of us. I really don’t know much about what we are doing right now, but hey I’m glad I went for this ride because I love it. I really do plan on staying longer than we are supposed to.”

“The Work Days…
I love this job! When I was in the hospital and the doctor said, “you can’t go to work”. I was so sad it even made me mad. But a few days later I was able to come and work with my friend and my great bosses (Quajay and Chelsea). They are the best. They care about me and how I’m doing. THE QUAJAY – There was one time when I could not walk a lot and my mom told him to keep me sitting down and he wouldn’t even let me go to the front of the office. Great times with Mr. Quajay Donnell (aka the food thief).”

“Last Day…
Today is the last day at this job! I loved being here and having many different experiences. I have always loved writing and reading. My dream has been to write a fiction young adult book. Every time I finish a good book, I get inspired to write my own. I usually think about it, but I can never get past the first sentence of my book, so my dream usually stops there.

Last year, during 10th grade, was the best English/language arts year of my life. I learned a new way to write and to read. I found out what to look for when reading and what to write about, and how to write it. That is when I finally discovered my true passion for writing.

This job as a journalist was something else. There were times when I just wanted to give up entirely and call it a day. But every time that thought crossed my mind I would think of what I was actually doing. I was writing something – not for school, not because a teacher told me to, and not because it would help me get into a better college. I was writing because the topic or issue was something that concerned me and how I felt. I let my pen scratch across the paper, not only because I was writing, but because in the end my writing would be published. Yes, I know writing for a newspaper is different than writing an actual book. Writing in a newspaper allowed me to write something, anything, that in the end everyone would see.

Writing isn’t just opinions or facts. When you write, you are giving someone a part of yourself, even if you’re writing about teachers or First Lady Laura Bush. It’s an awesome message to send out to the people who think one thing, to give them another perspective. And for people who think the same way as the writer, they can finally relax knowing that someone out there is spreading the word, or feel at peace because someone out there can relate to them.

I won’t lie and say being a journalist is my new goal, however I will continue to write for this newspaper voluntarily. I believe that with every story that I write, I will be able to not be so conscious of my writing. I hope that I will write a few books when I’m older and I want all the experience here and the ones to come, to help me accomplish all my dreams and more.”

“Time went by so fast. I remember our first day as if it was yesterday. I went to work that first day not knowing what to expect. There are so many memories to look back on this summer. Wow!

I started this summer doing nothing and being bored to getting a job and having so much fun. I had a great time this summer and it’s something I will never forget. Now I will always have this newspaper to remember this summer.
Here we are on this last day of work just hanging back and resting from all the work we put into this paper. Looking back to the beginning I remember how nervous I was. I never in my life expected to be doing something like this. I was nervous that my writing wouldn’t be that good. I always thought that I could never write well enough for my stories to be featured in a newspaper. I guess my writing isn’t that bad after all (haha). I will never forget all of the people that I interviewed, the stories that I wrote and our wonderful creation!

I remember when we first started I thought that ‘who in the world would read our newspaper?’ I thought ‘who is going to want to hear what a bunch of kids have to say.’ However, once I saw people taking an interest and reading our paper, I was excited! People were actually reading what I wrote! It was the happiest feeling yesterday. I remember sitting at lunch when I saw someone actually reading our paper. It was exciting!

This whole experience has really made me interested in writing and journalism. I can’t wait for our next issue. Maybe our paper will be just as popular as the Observer or even the Republican-American. I guess only time will tell.”

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